HOSEA CHAPTER 3.
The New Marriage of the Adulteress.
In a second symbolical marriage the faithful love of God, which for that very reason is also jealous and intends to lead to repentance, is pictured. V. 1. Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, that is, once more, again, in a second venture, love a woman beloved of her friend, the word being used often for husband, yet an adulteress, one still regarded and surrounded with conjugal love by her lawful husband, though estranged from him on account of her adulterous acts, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love flagons of wine, rather, raisin-cakes, such as were used in idol-worship. Cp. Jer. 7, 18. Just as Jehovah loves the children of Israel, although they turn to other gods, so the prophet should love this woman, who would become guilty of adultery. V. 2. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, a shekel being worth about 62 cents, and for an homer of barley and an half homer of barley, a total of some twelve bushels of grain. This was dowry-money, but the amount was that paid for a slave, cp. Ex. 21, 32; Zech. 11, 12. The transaction undoubtedly pointed to the fact that the Lord had chosen Israel as His people while they were still in bondage in the land of Egypt, and the fact that half of the amount was paid in common grain indicated the lowly condition of the bride at this time. V. 3. And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days, in a faithful union with him alone; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man, in an adulterous union; so will I also be for thee, not taking any other consort, loyal in wedded love. The reference is undoubtedly to the time of the exile, when Israel was estranged from the public worship of Jehovah and yet was to remain faithful to Him until the time of the restoration. V. 4. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king and without a prince, without a government of their own, and without a sacrifice, namely, those of public worship in the Temple, and without an image, pillars as used in connection with their worship, and without an ephod, the beautiful vest of the high priest which was used in determining the will of God and uncovering the future, Ex. 28, 6-12, and without teraphim, household gods which had been retained from the earliest days of Israel's history. The exile brought to an end not only the public worship of Jehovah, but also the remnants of idol-worship as practiced as a matter of tradition. During the captivity the children of God realized the vanity of all idol-worship and were ready to accept the true God. V. 5. Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord, their God, the Jewish Church after the exile being the organization in which the belief in the true God was still taught, and David, their King, namely, the Son of David, the Messiah, who is called so also in other Messianic prophecies, cp. Jer. 30, 9; Ezek. 34, 23. 24; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness, as shown in His manifold blessings, in the latter days, in the Messianic period, which is always designated in this manner. In the midst of the sternest reproofs the light of God's mercy shines forth like a beacon directing the believers to heaven.